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New York's Governor Wants to 'Silence' Constitutionally Protected Speech

Added 05-18-22 12:21:02am EST - “When politicians echo Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' famous observation about "falsely shouting fire in a theatre," it typically means they...” - Reason.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Reason.com: “New York’s Governor Wants to ‘Silence’ Constitutionally Protected Speech”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

When politicians echo Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' famous observation about "falsely shouting fire in a theatre," it typically means they are trying to justify unconstitutional speech restrictions. So it was with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul's comments after the racist mass shooting that killed 10 people at a Buffalo grocery store on Saturday.

Hochul, a Democrat, was responding to questions from Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, who during Sunday's show condemned "a permissive culture on the internet" that allows "right-wing extremism" and "white supremacy" to run rampant. Given the role that such views played in Saturday's horrifying attack, Todd asked Hochul, shouldn't "internet companies" be "held responsible for the easy spread of this propaganda"?

Todd noted with dismay that critics of that proposition tend to cite "freedom of speech or things like this." Hochul shared his impatience with such objections.

"I'll protect the First Amendment any day of the week," the governor said. "But you don't protect hate speech. You don't protect incendiary speech. You're not allowed to scream 'fire' in a crowded theater. There are limitations on speech."

Hochul is right that the Supreme Court has recognized exceptions to the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. She is wrong in thinking that "hate speech" is one of them.

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